ByKatie Granger, writer at
MP Staff Writer, come to bargain.
Katie Granger

Cry adulation to the skies above, for it was recently confirmed by co-creator Dan Harmon that Rick and Morty Season 3 is on its way and will be landing toward the end of the year with not 10, but 14 new episodes.

Speaking on a panel at Miami's Magic City Comic-Con in late January, Harmon responded to a question from the crowd asking when the new season would be released, finally spilling the magic words we'd been waiting to hear:

"I think Season 3 is ... I believe we're targeting around the end of this year [for release]."

Production on Episode 303 is now underway.
Production on Episode 303 is now underway.

Hurrah! So, not only will we not have to wait quite as long as a "year and a half — or longer," we're also getting more bang for our buck with an additional four episodes. It's all looking very exciting at the moment, and for more information on what you can expect to see from the new season, check out our Everything We Know About Rick And Morty Season 3 guide here.

It's no secret that Justin Roiland's animated show, born from a crude Back to the Future parody, is a master of the pop culture reference; the vast majority of the episode titles themselves are references to pop culture figures or movies, from the Jurassic Park/Fantastic Voyage references in "Anatomy Park" (S01E03) to The Purge parody episode, "Look Who's Purging Now" (S02E09).

You certainly don't need to get every reference to enjoy the show, but it sure helps. So in celebration of the news about Rick And Morty Season 3, we've done a roundup of our favorite pop culture nods from the show.

S01E02: Lawnmower Dog

"Lawnmower Dog" is kind of a triple whammy when it comes to referencing other media, so let's look at that first.

Firstly, the title of the episode is a direct reference to the 1992 sci-fi movie The Lawnmower Man, the nightmarish tale of mentally challenged gardener Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey) who is experimented on by a scientist in an attempt to increase his intelligence and mental capacity. Jobe ends up developing telekinetic powers and mental instability, with disastrous consequences for everyone involved.

In "Lawnmower Dog" Rick creates a device which elevates the Smith family pooch Snuffles/Snowball to human-level intelligence, with similarly disastrous consequences.

But this episode also features a parody of Christopher Nolan's Inception as well as the testicular-looking Scary Terry — a clear reference to A Nightmare On Elm Street's Freddy Krueger.

S01E04: M. Night Shaym-Aliens!

Another Season 1 episode, "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" features Rick and Jerry trapped in a virtual reality program by scammer aliens trying to uncover Rick's recipe for Concentrated Dark Matter.

Whilst on the surface "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" might have seemed like more of another Inception-flavored parody (what, with Rick having to work his way through several layers of virtual reality) the title makes reference to director M. Night Shyamalan, who is known for his convoluted and unexpected narrative plot twists.

The nod to Shyamalan echoes several twists that occur in succession toward the end of the episode:

1. When the aliens seemingly trick Rick into giving them the code for his safe
2. When they seemingly trick him into revealing the recipe for Concentrated Dark Matter
3. Right at the end when it's revealed that Rick was deceiving them all along (ending with them all being blown up)

S02E03: Auto Erotic Assimilation

There's a lot of sci-fi pop culture references in this episode presented just through the character of Unity, Rick's ex-girlfriend. Unity is an alien hive mind who appears in the form of an entire planet of assimilated humanoid aliens, with every inhabitant of the planet under her control.

Unity herself recalls the sci-fi mechanic of the body snatcher, made famous by '50s classic Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and a much-used trope even in modern sci-fi and horror (The Thing, The Host, Quatermass II, The Faculty, The Andromeda Strain, etc.).

And the title of the episode references the sex act of auto erotic asphyxiation, a deviance which is often highly publicized in relation to accidental suicides. This makes the whole referencing game much darker when you remember that this is the episode in which Rick — forced to confront the effect he has on the people around him — almost commits suicide.

Bonus Round

For an added extra, here's a recap of our favorite episode titles and their pop culture references.

  • S01E05: "Meeseeks And Destroy" — the Metallica song "Seek And Destroy."
  • S01E06: "Rick Potion #9" — the 1992 Sandra Bullock movie Love Potion No. 9, in which two hapless scientists invent a love potion.
  • S01E7: "Raising Gazorpazorp" — the Coen Brothers movie Raising Arizona, in which a couple kidnap a baby to raise as their own.
  • S01E10: "Close Rick-counters Of The Rick Kind" the famous sci-fi movie Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
  • S02E02: "Mortynight Run" the movie Midnight Run, which has a similar premise to the episode.
  • S02E07: "Big Trouble In Little Sanchez" — the cult Kurt Russell movie Big Trouble In Little China. (Although, the premises of the episode and the movie are vastly different.)
  • S02E10: "The Wedding Squanchers" — the 2005 comedy The Wedding Crashers, which thankfully doesn't end quite as violently or as tragically as this episode does.

Which is your favorite movie reference in 'Rick And Morty'? Tell us in the comments below!


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